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Shadow Slave
Chapter 144 Right Of Challenge

Chapter 144 Right Of Challenge

Sunny felt cold sweat running down his back. Shaken by Gunlaug's serpentine voice, he was tempted to fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness. However, he also understood that every person in the grand hall currently felt the same urge.

Everyone here had done something that might be considered a crime by the tyrant.

He almost expected to hear people begin confessing their sins, but at that moment, a strange commotion at the doors attracted his attention.

Moving with menacing determination, two guards dragged a man to the center of the hall and threw him on the floor. The man was dressed in rags and painfully lean, which betrayed his nature as a dweller of the outer settlement.

However, there were ropes of powerful muscles rolling under his thin skin, and an angry, fearless look in his eyes that made the man appear proud and defiant. Throwing a contemptuous stare at the guards, he picked himself up from the floor and stood up, his back straight and his head held high. There was no ounce of fear on his face. Instead, there was dark, furious resentment.

Gunlaug looked down on the brave man from his throne and slightly tilted his head. The outsider grimaced after seeing his reflection in the golden mask, but still didn't lower his head.

'That's pure willpower,' Sunny thought, impressed by the stranger.

Meanwhile, Bright Lord's voice resounded in the grand hall once again:

"My wards. We have a guest today. This man, called Jubei, is visiting us from the outer settlement. Recently, he had been heard leveraging an accusation against one of my men. As a just and benevolent lord, I have invited Jubei here to plead his case and expose the criminal. We must get to the bottom of this matter! After all, the law is our only guiding star in this dark world…"

Despite being free from the psychic pressure emanated by Gunlaug's armor, Sunny still felt strangely affected by his deep, soft voice. He even got goosebumps. With or without the golden Memory, Bright Lord possessed a powerful and ingratiating charisma. It was hard not to listen to him.

But the man called Jubei just smirked.

"That's right. I'm here to accuse one of your thugs, Gunlaug. Let's see how you'll get out of this one, bastard."

With that, he raised one hand and pointed a finger at the group of Hunters watching the proceeding from their usual corner of the grand hall.

"That man right there, one of your so-called Pathfinders, is guilty of murder. He had killed an innocent kid in the most repugnant of ways. I've been watching you and your minions commit all sorts of vile crimes over these years, but enough is enough. Today, I'll see him answer with his life for what he did!"

A wave of shocked whispers ran through the crowd. Accusing a Pathfinder was not something a sane person would ever do. Due to their venerated status, these men were nearly untouchable. And yet, Jubei seemed unrelenting.

Gunlaug spoke:

"...Is that so? That is a heavy accusation, Jubei. Please, tell us more."

The man from the outer settlement gritted his teeth.

"That scum and his people lured a naive kid into their party by promising him all kinds of rewards and riches. They told him that he is going to become one of them and come to live in your damn castle. But in reality, they just fed him to the monsters as bait!"

He spat on the floor.

"You dare to call yourself Hunters, you damn cowards?! Don't you have any shame?!"

A heavy silence settled in the grand hall. People were now staring at the group of Hunters with dark expressions on their faces. The inhabitants of the castle were used to pretending to be blind to all kinds of wicked deeds, but all those deeds were committed by humans against other humans.

What they couldn't forgive was a human being betraying another of their kind to the Nightmare Creatures. In the Dark City, this was tantamount to sacrilege.

Gunlaug turned his head to face the Hunters, who shivered under his gaze.

"Is this true?"

The oldest of the group, the Pathfinder, glanced darkly at Jubei and scowled.

"There must be some kind of a misunderstanding, my lord. The boy in question was a highly valued member of my party. We all had high hopes for his future. His death saddened all of us a great deal."

His voice was steady and calm. Perhaps even a little too calm.

Jubei snarled:

"Lies! I happened to be hunting on that day myself and saw everything with my own two eyes! I know what you did, bastard!"

Gunlaug turned to face the crows and sighed. After some time had passed, he solemnly said:

"What an unfortunate situation. It seems that it is your word against his, Jubei. What to do, what to do? I trust my brave men wholeheartedly, of course. Who would be so ungrateful as to distrust these heroes when they are the ones keeping you all alive? Surely, there's no one that vile and wicked among you, my precious wards."

Sunny held his breath, feeling singled out by the insidious voice. The chilling threat hidden behind these words was not very subtle.

Gunalug was silent for a few moments, battering the crowd with his oppressive psychic aura. Then, he turned away, letting the people breathe, and said:

"But it would be unbecoming of me to play favorites in such a grave matter. And this matter, oh, it is grave indeed. What a dilemma. How do we uphold justice, my wards?"

In the ensuing silence, Gemma, the leader of both Hunters and Pathfinders, suddenly spoke:

"My lord, if I may speak. Isn't there a law that suits this situation perfectly? It has existed for as long as humans lived in this ancient castle. I'm talking, of course, about the right of challenge."

He glanced at Jubei and smiled:

"If this brave hunter has any shadow of doubt about his accusation, he should step down. If not, he can challenge the criminal and prove it with blood. Of course, the real culprit here is… me. As the person responsible for these men, any crime they commit in their roles as Hunters is my fault."

Gemma's charismatic smile was wide and friendly.

"So how about, Jubei? Will you step down? Or do you want to challenge me?"

The hunter from the outer settlement glared at him for a while, his eyes burning with fury and contempt. Finally, he spat:

"Do you think I'm afraid of you, lapdog? Sure, why not. I challenge you!"


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Shadow Slave Chapter 144 Right Of Challenge